It’s swim-meet season, that dreaded time of year when once a week my family sits outside in the humid Mississippi heat while my daughter periodically gets to jump into a pool and swim as though Jaws himself were after her. She stays nice and cool while the rest of us wilt. Since we’re out there sizzling for five hours that stretch right through dinner, I often bring along a picnic of sandwiches and salads.
One of our favorite picnic foods is this tofu salad, which my husband first made for me while we were dating. (I was so impressed with his cooking!) He had a couple of vegetarian cookbooks that I hadn’t seen before, and this was in one of them, The Best 125 Meatless Main Dishes. The other day as I was planning to make this salad, I took a good look at the book and noticed for the first time that it was co-written by Mindy Toomay, whose blog I read regularly. Small (vegetarian) world!
I’ve adapted the salad to reduce the fat, but I’ve increased the seasonings and added fresh basil so that you won’t miss the olive oil. It’s a colorful salad, full of the flavors of summer.
Colorful Tofu Salad with Basil and Cashews
This is excellent served over lettuce, as the original recipe suggests, as a sandwich filling (great in a wrap with lettuce and tomato), or as pictured above, stuffed into a lovely, ripe tomato.
- 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 1 pound firm, reduced-fat tofu, rinsed and lightly pressed to remove moisture
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic or white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt–or to taste
- generous grinding of pepper
- *1/4-1/2 cup raw cashews (cashews may be toasted for a few minutes if you like)
- In a small mixing bowl or measuring cup, mix the ground flax with the warm water and set aside to thicken.
- Wrap the tofu in a tea towel and squeeze it lightly to remove excess water. Crumble it into a large bowl. Add all the chopped vegetables and basil.
- When the flax seed mixture has thickened slightly, add the remaining ingredients, except cashews, to it and blend thoroughly. Pour the mixture over the tofu and vegetables, and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate the salad until well chilled–the longer, the better. Just before serving, stir in the cashews.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 0 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Nutrition (per serving, with 1/4 cup cashews): 144 calories, 51 calories from fat, 6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 449.9mg sodium, 267.4mg potassium, 12g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 3.4g sugar, 12.3g protein. *(If you omit the cashews, the total calories will be 104 and the fat will be 2.8g.)
Thank to Mindy and her co-author Susann Geiskopf-Hadler for a great recipe!
SusanVJuly 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm
These comments were posted before the blog was moved:
12:54 PM, June 28, 2006
Megan the Vegan said…
great use of the tomato as a bowl! You are so creative.
1:59 PM, June 28, 2006
That looks wonderful.. I wish I could teleport all the delicious food I see on the vegan blogs to my kitchen..
2:19 PM, June 28, 2006
The picture of this dish is lovely! I am very impressed–both with the yummy sounding recipe AND with your beautiful photo!
2:21 PM, June 28, 2006
Thanks for another cool recipe, Susan. This one is calling out my name.
3:05 PM, June 28, 2006
Urban Vegan said…
how lovely. your photos are amazing, too.
8:19 PM, June 28, 2006
Lake Desire said…
I’m probably going to make this over the weekend. Looks wonderful.
I really am curious about white balsamic vinegar. I’ve never seen it in the store before, but I’ve been seeing it pop up a lot lately on menus and recipes. I’ll watch for it at the co-op.
10:44 AM, June 29, 2006
Mindy T. said…
Thanks, Susan, for the plug. I am so glad you are enjoying the tofu salad I invented lo those many years ago (and adapting it to your own preferences). Reminds me that I’m not toiling away in a vacuum!
BTW, I know via my nephew all about that swim meet business. It’s grueling!
3:01 AM, July 04, 2006
This looks so good, and very pretty served on the tomato! I will try this recipe soon, there are lots of tomatoes around my garden right now!
1:45 PM, July 05, 2006
This is really good!! And fun to make. . .I just had some in a pita pocket with a few rounds of grilled eggplant and tomato and lettuce and sprouts. . .yum, yum. . I am quite pleased with myself that I figured out how to grill eggplant slices in my 2 dollar calphalon stovetop grill pan from the salvation army I’ve been spritzing them with braggs and dusting them with garlic powder. . .anyway, thanks to you–and D–for another great meal! xo
TinaApril 1, 2010 at 8:06 am
This looks so delicious! 🙂
All the ingredients in it look great– and good idea to make this with cashews!
You don't by any chance know a good place to find stone-ground mustard or cashews, do you?
I've been looking around online for these so I can make
Colorful Tofu Salad with Basil and Cashews also. 🙂
Really like your blog
LeonoraJune 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm
Good question Tina! Did you get an answer? I would also like to know where to get stone-ground mustard.
SusanVJune 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm
Stone-ground mustard can be found in any supermarket with the other mustards. One of my favorites is Grey Poupon’s Harvest Coarse Ground.
KellyzkoolJune 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm
This looks good – I am definitely going to try it. I’m making a batch of cold salads and living off them each week! This brings up a question I’ve never quite known the answer to – is it fine to eat tofu as you buy it, without cooking it? I thought I had read that it could have bacteria so have never been sure if I should. Thanks in advance for any info on this! I buy tofu both shrink wrapped (e.g. Nasoya and Mori-Nu) as well as locally made tofu, not sure if that makes a difference.
SusanVJune 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm
Most people eat it as-is, without cooking, but I’ve heard the same thing about bacteria. I think it should be possible to blanch the tofu quickly to kill any bacteria before making the salad, though I have to admit that I haven’t done that. I eat “raw” tofu so rarely that I haven’t bothered with the blanching.
KellyzkoolJune 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm
Thanks, that is a great idea about blanching! I’ll keep it in mind for raw tofu recipes.
KirstenJune 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm
Thank you for this recipe. I just made it and it is delicious. It’s 85 degrees out and I didn’t want to cook so this was perfect. It rarely happens that I have everything in my kitchen that I need for a recipe, but I did this time! I guess it was meant to be :).
VeganWheekersJuly 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm
Lovely presentation! Recipe is going on my to make list. 🙂
Also, love this blog! Thanks for the time you put into it. It’s really a treasure!
NanciJuly 31, 2010 at 8:45 pm
I just made it…did you mean mustard in a powder form or the other? I used a powder form and it didn’t taste good. I’m thinking that either that or my vinegar was bad?
SusanVJune 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm
Oh, definitely use prepared mustard–stone-ground or Dijon, preferred. I’m sorry that happened, but I’m sure it was the mustard.